Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Hole Truth

The last picture I posted was old. It was taken before my second appointment and I had my third appointment last week. I'm a wound center old timer now. Anyway I photographed my wound when it was naked this morning and posted the two pics side by side so you could compare the difference. If you want to. Once again, no one is forcing you to look. This is your warning, Random Mindless Ramblings. It is gross, even if it is healing. Look or not.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mmmmmmm..... Hamburger

I had my first follow up leg hole appointment last Wednesday. The nurses, and eventually the doctor, were very excited to see granulation tissue. The doctor told me the goal was to have the whole wound look like raw hamburger. And not that turkey hamburger,either. Here is a picture of my leg with granulation tissue before that appointment. Not for the squeamish and don't you dare email me about the grossness of it because THIS IS YOUR WARNING. I'm not the damn government. I can't protect you from yourself.

I had another appointment today but I did not want to go. Rain was threatening and we've just had enough of the stuff. We've had so much that you can not be sure that the road you want to drive on is drivable. For a couple of days it was impossible for me to go anywhere in my little car.

Flooded rural road

The storm approached and I left early so I could stock up on groceries before my appointment. The roads were fine and I made it to Big Town. But then I had to cross the swollen river. On the bridge that has the same flaws as the fallen Minneapolis bridge. Gulp.

I made it to the grocery store on the other side of town. When I came out with my cart full the skies were dark and lightning was striking. I just wanted to go home. Somehow I didn't die of a heart attack while screaming at the idiot drivers and the slow changing lights. I had to get out of the low part of town FAST.

I had to cross the possibly crumbling bridge again. At last I made it to the outpatient center at the back of the hospital. I was early so I sat and considered getting while the getting was good.

We're all gonna die!

There were turkey buzzards drifting above the hospital but I didn't catch them in the frame. I thought they were a sign telling me to leave, leave, leave! But I toughed it out. Well, sort of. I went to my appointment and was left waiting a lot and I was constantly on the verge of screaming "I HAVE TO LEAVE NOW!"

The doctor and my treatment deserves its own post. Suffice to say, I am still alive, I still have a hole in my leg and the treatment goes on and on and on. Excuse me now. I have to obsess over the weather radar.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes, Pets and Pharmacists

Yesterday was my birthday. My very special day started with an 8 a.m. appointment at the wound center. I checked my email before I left and I got a birthday greeting from a pet forum and an ecard from my cats, Felix and Mouse.

I arrived early and got sent to registration where the woman clicked tons of vital information into the computer. Including, of course, date of birth. Then I went to a waiting room and was soon ushered by Nurse Diane through a locked door into the wound center and sequestered in a cubicle. Where I was subjected to another hour of paper work. Including date of birth. Several times on several forms. I wanted to ask if the left hand ever talked to the right hand in that joint about the information that had already been tapped into the computer. And if anyone there knew what day it was. They didn't catch on that it was my birthday. And my birthday was being sucked away by paperwork.

After the paper work I was left alone to do sudokus for a half hour and wait for the doctor. I heard her outside my room looking at my new chart and berating the nurses who handled the paper work. "But I don't know this about the patient! What about blah, blah, blah?" I listened to her rant for 5 minutes. I almost left at that point. If she didn't have enough info, maybe I should spend my birthday somewhere else. Like a bar.

Eventually the very perky young doctor entered the room. She did doppler tests on my feet to see if I was getting blood to them. She tickled my toes with a filament to see if I had feeling. Then she dug out the hole in my leg with great gusto. She took measurements and recited numbers and medical words to an assistant who dutifully recorded them. The doctor really enjoyed the process. Twenty minutes after entering my room, she was done and gone.

Nurse Diane came back to give me a shopping list and teach me how to dress my wound. First protect the skin around the wound with extra protective ointment (vaseline). Then soak a strip Very Special Fabric in enzyme cream (and not that damn generic stuff I had been using). Then take the ends of the soaked strip and stuff them in the tunnels that have developed in the hole in my leg and wad the middle of the VSF up in the hole. Then cover the wound with a Very Special Piece of Gauze (gauze that is covered in vaseline). Then cover that with a large regular gauze pad. Then hold that all together by wrapping a conforming stretch bandage around and securing with Transpore tape. NO SELF STICKING STRETCH BANDAGES. NO PAPER TAPE. Then starting above the toes and ending below the knee, wrap Cast Padding snuggly and tape to hold. THEN wrap an elastic bandage over the cast padding and secure with tape. Then try in vain to get your sandal back on. Redress wound daily. Elevate leg for 30 minutes 5 or 6 times a day.

It was 10:30 before I got back to my car with my large leg and shopping list. Crab called. He finally remembered my birthday.

Since I was in Big Town, I went to the pharmacy Nurse Diane recommended, thinking I would be able to get everything I needed there. The only thing I walked out of the wound center with was an elastic bandage and what was left of the Very Special Fabric. Inside the recommended pharmacy I was greeted immediately by a pharmacy helper who took down my name, DOB, address and phone number. "Happy birthday!" She sent me to the window where the pharmacist started entering my info in the computer. "Happy birthday", he said.

My shopping list got handed to the other pharmacist who tried desparately to help me. Several problems. He'd never heard of this Very Special Fabric. Cast padding?? He didn't carry cast padding. He looked up the VSF and he could order it. Only $50 a box! I ended up leaving with what I could and VSF on order. The next pharmacy I stopped at didn't have cast padding either. Then I thought about it. What pharmacy would? Who sets their own broken arm and makes their own cast? I ended up at Hobby Lobby and bought a bag of low loft quilt batting and cut it into (sort of) 4" strips. It will have to do.

I finally got around to redressing my wound around 10:30 this morning. I was surprised that it did not hurt. I'm not so hot at the mummy wrap but I think I fulfilled all the requirements. Except for the 30 minutes of elevation 5 or 6 times a day. Does an hour and a half nap count?

And for those of you who are not squeamish, you can look at the hole in my leg here. I haven't photographed the hole in my head yet.

Happy birthday to me, a little late.